High Alert Institute



Getting Voted Back onto the Island; Part 4 – Gathering: Tactical, Intellectual and Societal Needs

by | Oct 31, 2008

Getting Voted Back onto the Island

Part 4 – Gathering: Tactical, Intellectual, and Societal Needs

By: Dr. Maurice A. Ramirez

Updated: 04Oct2022

An increasing number of business continuity professionals and disaster recovery experts are discovering that the most vulnerable links in the continuity of operations chain are the people a business serves and those who serve them. While this seems intuitively obvious now, for decades, resolving the fragility of technology has been the exclusive focus of the industry. 

This series has explored why employees and customers are prone to staying away from business sites, gathering their “tribe” close, and effectively voting businesses off the island. Last month, this series explored Gratifying: Emotional, Interpersonal and Spiritual Needs, discovering that in this technology-centric society, it is not the employer with the best information infrastructure but the employer with the best employee relationships that comes out on top. 

Beyond Heart and Soul to Head and Home

Employers that provide for and support their employees’ emotional, interpersonal, and even spiritual needs garner their employees’ loyalty and membership in each employee’s tribe. However, like any member of the tribe, it is not enough to support the tribe’s intangible needs; there must be a contribution to the tribe’s ability to regain self-sufficiency. This requires the employee and the tribe to gain skills and knowledge to assist them in preparing for and responding to a disaster. Additionally, everyone’s connection to the community as it recovers must be promoted and maintained.

Building for Tactical and Intellectual Success

The “bread and butter” of business continuity planning is the development of skills and knowledge to ensure the uninterrupted operation of the business. Many employers and even business continuity professionals are only coming to realize that an employee can succeed with these skills at work. The employee must be able to adapt and adopt these skills at home to ensure the uninterrupted operations of the tribe. Employers can best contribute to the employee’s tribe in a meaningful way by ensuring that the business continuity and disaster preparedness skills learned in the workplace are also applied at home.

Fortunately, most business continuity skills and preparedness lessons learned in the workplace apply to the employee’s home, family, and tribe. 

  • Secure critical data and original legal documents in an offsite location, such as a safe deposit box. 
  • Backup computer records and family photos onto DVD-ROM / CD-ROM, cloud storage, USB drives, or another digital backup.
  • Performing yearly reviews of insurance coverage and physical home security.
  • Review and drill the family disaster plan at least twice a year.

These are a few examples of business continuity skills and knowledge that can quickly become “family continuity” skills. Furthermore, “making it personal” in this fashion increases the likelihood that an employee will recall the skills and information correctly.

Supporting Societal Bonds

As communities and local social life reconstitute themselves in the aftermath of a disaster, the instinct and desire of individuals, families, and “tribes” are to participate in the societal recovery. The bonds built during this period are often stronger than those formed before the disaster. The intensity of bonds formed in the face of adversity offers a significant opportunity for the business that has positioned itself to benefit from this bonding period through planning and disaster preparedness.

Employers who develop relationships with employees and their tribes will become a part of every societal bond that an employee or the tribal member makes during the recovery. Promoting such relationships imbue the employer with the reputation of being generous and service-oriented. Both are invaluable marketing attributes anytime, but especially following a disaster.

In addition to this indirect benefit, businesses that promote the recovery of the local community and society never go unnoticed. In over a quarter century of disaster response and recovery work, I have never encountered a business that went out of its way to support the community recovery that did not benefit directly through new customers, returning customers, and long-lasting customer loyalty.

The Hierarchy Complete 

Viewing the needs of employees, family members, customers, or ourselves on Maslow’s Hierarchy, it is clear that surviving the physical needs while gratifying the emotional, interpersonal, and spiritual needs is the key to remaining part of the tribe. Further, a business can transcend disaster survival by applying basic business continuity planning skills to the family.

The next segment of this series will examine, 

Part 5 – Thriving Through the Disaster.

Griffin Works offers Pawsitive Interactions with Service Dogs During Response Operations©, an audience-customized training that breaks down barriers by offering hands-on handling training and demonstrations with working service dogs for fire departments, EMS agencies, and public safety organizations.

Part of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium and home to the National Emergency Response and Recovery Training Center, TEEX has been leading homeland security training since 1998. The major TEEX programs include fire and rescue, infrastructure and safety, law enforcement, economic and workforce development, and homeland security. As a member of The Texas A&M University System, TEEX is unique in its ability to access a broad range of emerging research and technical expertise. Beginning with course design and development all the way through hands-on instruction and national certification testing, TEEX delivers comprehensive training through both classroom and hands-on instruction and as online courses.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) was created by Congress in 2000 as part of the Children’s Health Act to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events. This unique network of child-serving professionals, caregivers and young adults, researchers, and national partners is committed to changing the course of children’s lives by improving their care and moving scientific gains quickly into practice across the U.S. The NCTSN is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and coordinated by the UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS). 

The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The EMI provides national leadership in developing and delivering training to ensure that individuals and groups having key emergency management responsibilities possess the requisite skills to effectively perform their jobs.

The High Alert Institute maintains a list of reviewed courses provided by governments, universities and professional organizations. This list is geared towards the non-emergency management person who participates in disaster planning, preparedness, response, recovery or mitigation as part of their job responsibilities.

The High Alert Institute has partnered with Shutterstock to distribute stock images from the nature images donated by our supporters. For eligible stock images, Shutterstock will donate a portion of the royalty to the High Alert Institute. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to Shutterstock customers.

For eligible purchases through AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the High Alert Institute. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to AmazonSmile customers. All you need to do is push the SMILE NOW button and select to support THE HIGH ALERT INSTITUTE on AmazonSmile.

Koi need forever homes, too! For pond enthusiasts, freshwater exotic and ornamental fish may not be available through pet stores or rescues in their area. The High Alert Institute Aquatic Pet Shelter Rehoming Program will be happy to assist you in stocking your new pond or adding a new finned friend to your school. Coming soon – when you adopt a Koi from the High Alert Institute Aquatic Pet Shelter Rehoming Program, we can arrange for delivery to your door anywhere in the continental United States.

Have you always wanted a Koi pond but don’t have the space one? Sponsor a Koi in our community shelter pond and we send you photos of your sponsored animal. Coming soon are live Koi Cameras above and below the water to enjoy your sponsored Koi anytime.

Dumping of freshwater non-native species and exotic aquatic pets into wild habitats is a man-made disaster that is truly preventable. The Institute’s Aquatic Pet Welfare Partnership works to raise awareness and reduce the impact on healthy ecosystems through education, as well as rescue and rehoming. Joined by champions of animal welfare and environmental stewardship, this  association of aquatic pet rescue operations and aquatic pet shelters across the United States aims to save our finned friends and preserve our waterways together.

Want to share our cause with family, friends, and colleagues? Looking for a non-traditional way to celebrate a birthday or honor someone special? Support the Institute by starting your own Peer-to-Peer fundraising challenge! Let your contacts know why our mission is important to you and what they can do to support your cause. START YOUR OWN FUNDRAISER for the High Alert Institute.

From the staffing pool to the shelter ponds, from the boardroom to the classroom, and from reading the science to writing the analyses, High Alert Institute programs and services benefit from the experience, expertise, and generosity of our volunteers. Put your talents to use for good and to good use – VOLUNTEER TODAY.

Make your donation twice as nice by rehoming aquatic pets and providing a rehabilitation companion pet to a deserving person, family, or facility. Sponsor part or all of a Joy of Koi Program pond installation – complete with rehomed koi – and give the gifts of love and recovery.

Professional photographers, amateurs, and legal copywrite holders are all welcome to participate in the High Alert Institute Nature Photo Donation Program. Sales of the images benefit the Institute and donors are eligible for tax deductions equivalent to the fair market value of their photos. Landscapes, seascapes, animals, flowers – all may be accepted – whether new or vintage  images. People may be included in the photo but only if unidentifiable (i.e., blurred figures at a distance).

Did you know that unused patents and copyrights can be donated to charity? Intellectual Property (IP) just sitting on a shelf will lose value as it becomes obsolete. The High Alert Institute IP Donation Program seeks to rescue stranded, technology-related IP with the potential for development into marketable products. Once accepted by the program, the owner/inventor is eligible for a tax deduction equivalent to the fair market value of the IP. The Institute receives the patent licensing fees or revenue from the sale of the IP to businesses, helping us to fund our mission. In turn, businesses are able to advance their markets and create jobs for less money than starting a project from scratch.

Disasters are defined as situations in which needs exceed or overwhelm available resources. Some disasters affect an entire community, while other disasters impact individuals and families. Crises of physical or psychological health can be very personal disasters.
The therapeutic value of pets during illness, trauma, and recovery is well established. And Koi fish may be well suited for people who are not able to provide verbal pet commands or physically care for pets like dogs and cats. Koi ponds are also a source of beauty and peace, providing an ideal setting for quiet reflection or meditation.
We are working to partner with pond installers and aquatic pet rescues/shelters to offer free or reduced-cost ponds with rehomed Koi fish to people seeking this type of pet therapy.

Disasters disrupt life and impact our sense of personal, family, and community safety. Survivors and responders alike often are not aware of the emotional, psychological or spiritual challenges that they may face from disaster onset through recovery. With two decades of experience training responders and communities to prepare for the behavioral health aspects of disasters, we will continue to provide education and a curated list of resources to groups or individuals.

Non-medical factors that impact overall health are termed Social Determinants of Health or SDoH. Noise pollution, poor air quality, and poor water quality are three environmental factors known to have a strong link to overall health. And the same environmental factors that impact humans impact their pets and other animals in their care. We continue to assist in advocacy, education, and technology development to mitigate the impact of SDoH on humans and animals alike.

Our efforts in shelter and rescue are the main focus of our environmental stewardship, reducing the environmental impact of non-native aquatic animals being dumped into public waterways. The High Alert Institute also assists innovators with the design, development, and evaluation of green and renewable energy technologies. Reducing the carbon footprint associated with disaster preparedness, response, and recovery furthers our continued mission to mitigate risk and improve resilience.

We partner with public and private organizations, sharing resources and fostering partnerships to improve disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, and mitigation.

The High Alert Institute team has over a century of combined research experience in medical, nursing, behavioral health, and disaster sciences. Our team provides support to researchers and technology developers through comprehensive literature searches and reviews, as well as failure mode database searches and adjudicated reviews.

When disaster strikes, most aquatic pet owners have limited options to secure the safety of their pets. Sheltering in place may not be possible if there is no power to provide aeration and “pet-friendly” shelters do not include ponds or aquariums. Our goal is to provide an option for aquatic pet owners in need of rescue and shelter for their finned friends.

Our goal is to share our two decades of disaster readiness experience with animal welfare organizations, shelters, caretakers, and pet owners, as they implement contingency  plans for natural and manmade disasters.

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High Alert Institute

4800 Ben Hill Trail
Lake Wales, FL 33898
Office: 863.696.8090
FAX: 407.434.0804


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